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Oil Removal FSO Safer

The Safer is a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) facility moored approximately 9 kilometers off the Red Sea coast of Yemen and 50 kilometres northeast of the port of Hodeida. Constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted in 1987 to be a floating storage facility, the Safer is single-hulled and is believed to contain an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil. The FSO has not been maintained since 2015 because of the conflict in Yemen, and it has decayed to the point where there is a risk it could explode or break apart, which would have disastrous environmental and humanitarian effects on the region. Boskalis through its subsidiary SMIT Salvage has been tasked with the removal of the oil from the FSO Safer.

Project Progress Log

We are providing periodic updates of the operation through this blog. Any significant events will also be posted on social media and if you want to stay up to date, we recommend that you follow Boskalis on LinkedIn and/or Twitter ( or (

Friday 2 June – Salvage crew boards the FSO Safer and completes first inspections

After Boskalis’ multipurpose vessel Ndeavor reached its destination offshore Yemen earlier this week, the colleagues of SMIT Salvage were able to board the FSO Safer on Wednesday afternoon. First, gas measurements were taken to assess the presence of toxic gas in- and around the vessel. After the ship was declared “safe to access”, a number of operational steps were initiated. This included loading of mobile inert gas generators and conducting inspections of the FSO and its deck machinery as well as structural hull assessments. It is expected that the Ndeavor will soon be able to berth alongside the Safer after which further preparations will continue.  

Video of the SMIT Salvage crew boards FSO Safer and completes first inspections.

Tuesday 30 May - Boskalis’ multipurpose support vessel Ndeavor reaches location of the FSO Safer

Today at 11:00 CET, Boskalis’ multipurpose support vessel Ndeavor reached the location of the FSO Safer in Yemen. After berthing the vessel alongside the Safer the next phase of the salvage operation will commence, which consists of taking the following precautionary measures by the salvage team:

  • Skilled experts will take different gas measurements to assess the presence and levels of gasses inside the vessel prior to declaring it “safe to access” for planned salvage activities
  • Further (visual) inspections whilst wearing specialized protective gear will be conducted on board the FSO Safer, including the pump and engine rooms as part of the overall condition assessment.
  • Loading of mobile inert gas generators to fill the cargo tanks with inert gas and create a safe tank environment.
  • The condition of the cargo will be assessed to finetune the transfer operation.
  • The cargo and inert gas lines, valves and manifolds will be inspected and subject to the outcome, the salvage plan can be refined.
  • An inspection of the state of the mooring arrangements.
  • Underwater inspections will be executed where necessary.

Photos and video of the Ndeavor reaching the location of the FSO Safer.

Monday 29 May - Boskalis vessel Ndeavor leaves Djibouti and sets sail for FSO Safer in Yemen

Today at 05:15 CET, Boskalis’ multipurpose support vessel Ndeavor left Djibouti and set sail for Yemen where it will be deployed for the FSO Safer oil transfer operation. In Djibouti, the salvage team boarded the vessel and final preparations were made. The sailing time to Yemen is approximately 48 hours. Upon arrival at the FSO Safer, the next phase of the salvage operation will commence. Further updates to follow. More information:

Photos and a video of the Ndeavor leaving Djibouti.